The heart box of chocolates isn't velvet or ruffled satin. No bow either. It's the cheap variety— drugstore or worse. Maybe he got it from the Gas & Go. Red faux foil is coming off staining my fingers. These days I put nothing past him. He does what's needed, expected, the bare minimum. OK. So I put all my bare skimpy things away. Shoved them into a plastic bin under the bed. And I've got some pretty fine things. Little bustiers with garters and sheer white stockings. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday lace teddys. Cutie French maid stuff he used to drool over. Now it's tee-shirts and flannel pj bottoms.
Next to me in bed he's snoring. I pick through the crappy chocolates eating the coconut clusters, soft ones that aren't cherry, fake truffles, caramels. Next I hit the nut clusters and caramellos. By 1 a.m. I've pretty much decimated the box. The brown crinkly papers overflow onto the comforter. He snores and changes sides. His one leg extended out. He always sleeps one leg out of the covers. Says it's how his father slept. Says it proudly. Like it's a medal or something. Your father, I think. You mean the guy who stopped fucking your mother and then she went insane. You mean that guy?
Susan Tepper is author of the novel, What May Have Been, (with Gary Percesepe) published by Cervena Barva Press, Deer & Other Stories (Wilderness House Press 2009) and the poetry chapbook, Blue Edge. Tepper has received 6 nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She writes MONDAY CHAT on the Fictionaut blog, and "Madame Tishka Advises on Love & Other Storms" at Thunderclap Press. Her reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar is quite popular.
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